Cancer stem cell: Fundamental experimental pathological concepts and updates
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Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a subset of cancer cells which play a key role in predicting the biological aggressiveness of cancer due to its ability of self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation (stemness). The CSC model is a dynamic one with a functional subpopulation of cancer cells rather than a stable cell population responsible for tumour regeneration. Hypotheses regarding the origins of CSCs include (1) malignant transformation of normal stem cells; (2) mature cancer cell de-differentiation with epithelial–mesenchymal transition and (3) induced pluripotent cancer cells. Surprisingly, the cancer stem cell hypothesis originated in the late nineteenth century and the existence of haematopoietic stem cells was demonstrated a century later, demonstrating that the concept was possible. In the last decade, CSCs have been identified and isolated in different cancers. The hallmark traits of CSCs include their heterogeneity, interaction with microenvironments and plasticity. Understanding these basic concepts of CSCs is important for translational applications using CSCs in the management of patients with cancer.
Experimental and Molecular Pathology
Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified